Title IX law requires educational institutions to respond and remedy allegations of discrimination swiftly or risk losing their federal funding. Students facing the grievance process are subject to procedures that change via prevailing political winds. This leaves them without guaranteed due process and the possibility of suffering long-lasting consequences even if they are found "not responsible."
A Title IX violation can jeopardize a student's entire academic career, and the gravity of the situation can leave a student feeling as if there is no one on their side. Only a Title IX attorney has the experience and comprehension to assist a student through the investigative, hearing, and appeals process.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any federally-funded education program or activity. K-12 schools and institutions of higher education use the law's guidelines to investigate and discipline all manner of sexual misconduct and harassment. Nevertheless, Title IX also applies to various training programs and workshops outside the traditional classroom. For example, Title IX applies to educational programs funded by the U.S. government like:
- Career enhancement programs conducted by Nevada's Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR), funded in part by the U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education (DOE)
- Emergency management and preparedness workshops administered by Nevada's Center for Radiological Nuclear Training (CTOS), funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- Environmental workshops located in national parks throughout Nevada overseen by local parks and recreation departments funded by the Department of the Interior (DOI)
Title IX Restructuring
The Title IX grievance process has been structured to grant due process to the accuser and the accused. However, many Trump-era enforcement guidelines like live hearings, formal reporting channels, and the cross-examination of witnesses risk removal by the Biden Administration. Moreover, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will add language to the law to "fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation," per a White House press release.
New Title IX guidelines will also cover various forms of harassment that are now punishable under the law in addition to current violations:
- Dating/Domestic violence
- Providing false information or failure to report Title IX misconduct
- Sexual assault
- Sexual discrimination
- Sexual exploitation
Title IX Reporting In K-12 Schools and Postsecondary Institutions
According to a report from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), new Title IX regulations expressly recognize the legal rights of parents and guardians to act on behalf of students. Parents or guardians of K-12 students can file complaints on their behalf and require parental notification of complaints against their children. Furthermore, parents or guardians may decide on any appropriate supportive measures or whether to file or withdraw a formal complaint.
Nevada's Clark County School District (CCSD) requires that "any employee or official of CCSD who has actual knowledge (sees, hears, or otherwise learns) of sexual harassment that occurred within an education program or activity must promptly report the incident to the CCSD Title IX Coordinator."
All public colleges and universities in Nevada fall under the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) governance. While the process is handled similarly at schools across the state, there are slight differences.
For example, the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) is no longer bound to the "Responsible Employee" program. Therefore, all faculty and staff are no longer required to report Title IX allegations. At Western Nevada College (WNC), specific employees designated as Officials With Authority (OWA), including the Title IX Coordinator, are required by the school's Title IX policy to report allegations.
Title IX Grievance Process
Colleges and universities within the NSHE have similar processes for investigating and disciplining Title IX misconduct cases. The College of Southern Nevada (CSN) outlines its methodology as follows:
- Allegations are forwarded to CSN's Title IX Coordinator.
- The Title IX Coordinator meets with the complainant and files the allegations with CSN, thereby fulfilling the "actual knowledge" requirement. If the complainant does not move forward with the process, CSN will become the complainant.
- Investigators will notify the complainant and respondent of the investigation. A statement details that the respondent is presumed not responsible until proven and may retain an advisor to assist them.
- Investigators will collect evidence and interview the complainant, respondent, and applicable witnesses.
- Both parties and grievance process advisors are then given the evidence. They have ten calendar days to review, and the respondent will have one calendar week to submit their response.
- The Title IX Coordinator selects a Decision Maker to conduct a live hearing, which must include the cross-examination of witnesses.
- The Decision Maker will determine responsibility within 14 calendar days based on a preponderance of evidence, meaning at least 50 percent convinced the respondent is responsible for the allegations.
- Either party will have five calendar days to dispute the concluding results of the process.
Parties can only file appeals due to a few circumstances:
- Discovery of new evidence
- Procedural irregularities
- Title IX personnel conflict of interest/bias
Title IX's Harsh Consequences
Punishments are severe if a student is found responsible for Title IX misconduct. Minimum sanctions usually lead to a separation from studies via suspension or expulsion. According to WNC's policy, if a teacher, employee, or vendor is found responsible for Title IX misconduct, they may be subject to:
- Reassignment of duties
- Loss of employment
- Tenure non-renewal
- Revocation/Denial of professional license
- Rescinding/Withholding accolades or honorary degrees
The end of a student's academic career can be a traumatic ordeal, but the consequences are far more troublesome. For instance, a student suspended or expelled from WNC or other Nevada colleges will have the offense detailed on their transcript, making admittance into another school very tough. Even if the Title IX violation doesn't lead to expulsion, it may interfere with a student's goals further down the road. For example, financial aid or private scholarships, acceptance into graduate school, and specific jobs and professional licenses may be off the table.
How Can an Experienced Title IX Attorney Help You?
Colleges and universities cannot restrict parties in a Title IX investigation from discussing allegations or gathering evidence in the case. While your advisor during the Title IX grievance process does not have to be an attorney, they should be. Once your school notifies you of a Title IX allegation, they will already be preparing their case, and you should be too.
Skilled Title IX attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has defended hundreds of students in Nevada and from colleges and universities across the country. He knows how the administrative process works and can negotiate fair settlements for students so they can continue their studies. If you or someone you love in Nevada is facing Title IX accusations, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or visit their online consultation form.
Nevada colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- College of Southern Nevada
- DeVry University Nevada
- Everest College Henderson
- Great Basin College
- International Academy of Design and Technology Henderson
- ITT Technical Institute Henderson
- ITT Technical Institute Las Vegas
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas
- Morrison University
- Nevada State College
- Sierra Nevada College
- The Art Institute of Las Vegas
- Truckee Meadows Community College
- University of Nevada Las Vegas
- University of Nevada Reno
- University of Phoenix Las Vegas Campus
- University of Phoenix Northern Nevada Campus
- Western Nevada College
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead, prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Nevada and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.